Italy’s Anti-trust and Competition Authority (AGCM) fined Amazon and Apple over $225 million (€200 million) Tuesday for anti-competitive business practices, in violation of European Union competition law.
The investigation launched last month discovered that the tech giants were using restrictive contractual agreements signed in 2018, which only allowed certain resellers to sell Apple and Beats products on Amazon in Italy. By limiting which resellers could use the website, the companies prevented other resellers, whether official or unofficial, from selling on the Amazon marketplace. This practice was discriminatory as Amazon and Apple were able to control cross-border sales and “discriminate on a geographic basis.” The ACGM also determined that out of the 70 percent of consumer purchases of tech items in Italy, forty percent are from retailers who use Amazon.
The AGCM imposed fines of €69.7 million ($78.28 million) on Amazon and €134.5 million ($151 million) on Apple for affecting price competition in violation of competition law. The watchdog reinforced that restrictive contractual clauses undermine the purpose of the Single Market to provide a “level playing field” for sellers and customers who operate in e-commerce. Both Amazon and Apple have denied any wrongdoing. Amazon called the fines “disproportionate and unjustified” and denied that their business model excludes sellers from their store. Meanwhile, Apple stated that by working with resellers and having “dedicated terms,” they can reassure the customer that their purchases are “genuine,” which is non-discriminatory. Both parties intend to appeal the fines imposed by AGCM.